Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy 2016

Will 2016 be the most critical year since 1792 in the history of the United States?  It surely will.  With the ratification of the Constitution and the unanimous election of George Washington this country plunged into unknown territory and enjoyed the most  glorious outcome in the history of this planet.  Despite the machinations of Adams, Hamilton and the like, and Lincoln's belligerent rashness, we have risen to the apex of human society, until that ill-conceived political experiment with a strong third party candidate saddled us with the Clinton dynasty.  Hanging on by a chad, we dodged the pseudo scientist, Al Gore, who still claims his father built the interstate highway system, but sadly we ended with the affable but ineffective Bush II.

Former Czech president, Václav Klaus famously observed that the United States could survive Obama, but never the electorate that put him in office.  There has never been a keener observation.  As we contemplate 2016 with five aircraft carriers vulnerably anchored in the same harbor, our military brain trust gutted, Iran being handed nuclear weapons and the phrase "Islamic extremism" stricken from the language, we cling to a bombastic buffoon with ten billion dollars for salvation.

It defies belief to consider that supposedly intelligent creatures can witness the collapse of the most powerful socialist society in history, in fact not just the collapse of the Soviet Union, but its utter disappearance, and still remain convinced that that system is viable.  Russia for all its malignant power is not successor to CCCP.  Twenty-first century Russia is a capitalist country breeding petro-billionaires and prospering on a flood of western imports.  Despite the total failure of communism—socialism being merely a euphemism for communism—an ever larger slice of American society clamors to turn their future wellbeing over to a bloated and impotent bureaucracy that repeatedly has shown itself to be incapable of finding its ass with both hands.

I want to let all of you know that the day in 2007, even before the crisis of Obama landed on us, when I wrote the checks that gave 35% of my retirement savings to the government had a profound effect on me.  Thirty-five percent of my family's future security went into a black hole wherein it was funneled by overpaid miscreants with huge under-funded pensions into the hands of illegal immigrants, families without a single member holding a job since Lyndon Johnson rammed his Great Society down our throats, women without partners who breed for income and trolls living under bridges with stolen grocery carts.  No, I do not condone socialism, nor what it does to the human condition.

In the coming year we are going to be driven mad by politics.  All the posturing, lambasting and lying will have very little effect on the mindset of the electorate who are either crying for relief or firmly wedded to the death spiral of the Obama/Clinton agenda.  Inconsequential issues will drive the outcome.  I don’t know what those issues will be but the survival of the United States teeters on them.  Lest we go the way of the Soviet Union, that is now hardly a footnote in history, we must somehow find effective and intelligent leaders and shun that political contrivance who threatens to be our ruin only for the sake of being the first woman.  It doesn’t matter at all who is her opposition.  The rightminded would cast votes for a Republican chimpanzee or Attila the Hun to be spared from Hillary, but in my own case the GOP candidate is even less important, because in California, as soon as I cast my vote for president, it is nullified by the Electoral College since there is no chance this state will carry the Republican.  That is one unfortunate artifact left in the sublime document adopted in 1792 that may well spell the doom of our nation in 2016.

Happy New Year to all!

Tin Monkeys

Reviewed for

A truly repulsive human being, a brilliantly eccentric TV scientist and an altruistic sycophant intertwine their lives and deaths. FBI agent Singer with his new partner, idealistic rookie, Anne Goodwin, investigate the bizarre death of mad scientist, Doctor Theodore Grant, whose remains are found at his Ozark Mountains palatial retreat in an unusual condition—dust. The good doctor did, however, leave a video record of his final months as he spiraled into the maelstrom of madness, ultimately professing to have proven the existence of sentient nanobots inhabiting and controlling everyone and everything. Agent Goodwin is young, naive and enamored of the late Doctor Grant. Special Agent Singer is jaded, profane and utterly corrupt. His former partner having been murdered by his wife, who Singer supposedly threw into an abandoned industrial well in revenge for the death of his longtime friend and ally. Singer’s reality is somewhat suspect due to massive doses of Dilaudid, whiskey and insomnia. His behavior attracts the attention of his supervisor who orders his psychiatric evaluation by the voluptuous shrink, Doctor Carrie Dent—this can only exacerbate Singer’s problems. In the meantime, Agent Goodwin goes missing and the loyal agent side of Singer emerges to attempt to rescue his partner, if in a slightly conflicted state. He quickly locates her in a rural campground where she has replicated Doctor Grant’s lethal experiment.

Tin Monkeys is a many-layered onion. Every time one shell falls a whole new parallel universe reveals itself. The reader is hauled from Agent Singer’s gutter to Anne Goodwin’s utopia and into Doctor Grant’s hell, then back again. Andrenik Sergoyan enfolds some, in fact a great deal of cutting edge science into this convoluted tale of micro and macro predestination versus free will. He explores all reaches of the cosmos and theology with equal aplomb and continually returns to the seamy underbelly of a rogue cop’s sordid self-destruction. Tin Monkeys will intrigue, repulse and befuddle you. How can you resist?

I haven't found Tin Monkeys available for sale to date.  I'm sure it will hit the retailers soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Children of the Nakba

Israel’s problems have always been existential.  In the late 1970’s Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, grew tired of the expense of  constant warfare, and offered his hand to Israel to the outrage of Palestinian terror group, Fatah.  The group’s leader, who used the  nom de guerre Jihad, organized a raid on a prominent Tel Aviv hotel for the purpose of forcing Israel to release terrorist prisoners and striking terror in general.  One of the leaders of the suicide assault force was his mistress.  Due to the treachery of a hired skipper, the terrorists put ashore many miles north of their target.  To salvage at least part of their mission they hijack two busloads of Jewish tourists.  The force that the Israeli authorities cobbled together to rescue the hostages and prevent the terrorists from reaching Tel Aviv resembles nothing familiar to modern Israel.

David Calder’s massive knowledge of his topic plunges the reader into the thick of the action.  It is clear that Mr. Calder has walked the route taken by the ill-fated tour bus more than once and has laid hands on the gravestones of the victims.  Rarely have I read a novelized account of a real event that carried me into the scene so completely.  For historical insight, action and mayhem, don’t miss Children of the Nakba.

Price $6.99

Buy at Amazon

Monday, November 2, 2015

Smart Guns?

A segment I saw on 60 Minutes last night about "smart guns" that only fire for the registered owner really piqued my interest.  The guns may be smart, but the fools promoting them define stupid.  I can think of three scenarios to prove it.

1. You want to shoot up the school or a movie theater: you are the registered owner of the smart gun, so there is no problem.

2. You want to rob a liquor store: you are going to use a Saturday night special that is not registered to anyone, so there is no problem.

3. You want to defend yourself from the intruder in your home who just killed your husband: the smart gun is registered to your dead husband and it will not fire for you, so there is a problem.

Happy Day of the Dead

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Brother's Oath (Tales of Hengest and Horsa)

The scorned second son of a nobleman in fifth century Jute-land abandons his youth of wealth and comfort for the life of a sea raider, but he swears a blood oath before Woden that he will return and save his brother’s life as his brother had done for him.  Horsa, the younger brother finds wealth, power and adventure on the stormy northern sea. He also makes powerful enemies. Hengest’s hope of familial bliss is dashed when a powerful king enlists his loyalty, and by code of honor, he must leave his family to accompany the king on his quest to unite the tribes. Unbeknownst to him, Hengest makes a potent enemy as well.

A Brother’s Oath is great tale of swashbuckling in pagan times when monsters of Grendel’s ilk howled at night outside the mead halls.  I’ve been a fan of Hengest and Horsa since they were first introduced to me in Norman Davies’ history of the British Isles, aptly title The Isles.  These two have inspired tales the like of Beowulf and Hamlet.  Chris Thorndycroft has done a fine job of adding some new flesh to their bones in A Brother’s Oath.  It is a fun and easy read written in straightforward, if a touch too modern, prose. Mr. Thorndycroft also gives us a peek at the further adventures of those fifth century funsters with a preview of an upcoming sequel or two.

Price $3.99

87,780 words

Buy at Smashwords

Buy at Amazon

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hazards of War reviewed for Readers' Favorites

A downed airman, a family of French vintners, a company of Nazis racing south to repel a feared American invasion are driven together by a horrific storm in the opening pages of Hazards of War.  Captain Hans Tiedemann may be a career SS officer, but he is also a cultured and thoughtful man.  After commandeering the mansion of the Conti vineyards to secure a dry place to sleep for his men, the body of one of his junior officers is discovered in the wine cellar.  Rather than summarily executing the French family, Tiedemann is determined to identify the killer.  His skilled and experienced interrogation of the family members only leads him in contradictory circles, and his quest for the murderer is further complicated by the revelation that the Contis are harboring a British airman with a dubious story of how he came to be there.

Jonathan Paul Isaacs’ Hazards of War is a detective story set against the backdrop of World War II.  Hazards of War, primarily told from the German point of view, reveals Mr. Isaacs’ extraordinary knowledge of his subject.  The complex plot unfolds in clean and excellent prose through the voices of strong and well-developed characters, each with a personality faithful to his or her background.  It is a story that builds to several false climaxes, hesitates, then peels another layer from the onion and lets the tension mount.  It is a great tale with a pace that never falters. 
Buy at Amazon

Friday, September 11, 2015

Alien Eyes

It's now live in all eBook formats at  Smashwords and their affiliate retailers, and at Amazon for only $2.99.

Carrie Player is back and still fighting to save humanity from the alien plague  while she copes with her personal predicament.

As if worldwide infertility weren't bad enough, radical Islamists are detonating in California.  The CIA sends a different woman to confront that menace, a very different woman.

Buy at Smashwords 

Buy at Amazon 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

After Alien Affairs

Some people thought it wasn't fair to end Alien Affairs where I did.

Fear Not!

Alien Eyes is coming on September 11

(An Apocalyptic Date)

You can pre-order your copy now at Smashwords for only $1.99

Our Man in Charleston

Our man in Charleston; Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South, is a long story about minor player.  Robert Bunch, consul to Charleston before and during the Civil War, worked tirelessly to convince Queen Victoria’s government that their crusade to stem the global slave trade would not be served by recognizing the Confederacy. This controversy was much exacerbated by the belligerence of Union Secretary of State, William Seward, toward Britain, and Britain’s addiction to slave grown cotton.
Bunch operated as a mole among Charleston’s elite convincing rabid, slaveholding secessionists that he was sympathetic to their cause, all the while sending dispatches to Washington and London condemning the Confederacy and warning of a resurgence of the African slave trade if the South were to gain recognition.

Mr. Dickey has done a remarkable job of unearthing what a pessimist might think are details lost to history. To learn in deep detail the viewpoint of the British government toward both sides during War Between the States is insightful and broadening. However, Mr. Dickey’s account is anything but objective. As so many do who consider the Civil War a just and necessary event, he refuses to acknowledge the right of the South to even have a point of view, or to concede that any factor other than slavery was responsible for the conflagration. Not once is there any concession to the frequent slaveholder who felt himself to be a prisoner of his slaves and wholeheartedly wished to free of them if he could only find a means to do so that did not lead to ruin and mayhem. Neither does the author ever mention the numerous slave owners who did voluntarily free their slaves despite the peril and popular disapproval. I cannot deny that I enjoyed reading Our Man in Charleston but the writer’s bias tarnishes its credibility to some degree. I want to take specific exception with the assertion: “[The slave trade] endured Africa and up into Arabia until 1877, officially, and along clandestine routes well into the twentieth century.” The slave trade, in fact, never ended, and exists abundantly today in Sudan, Nigeria, and other parts of the Islamic world.

Finally, as if I haven’t complained enough, I would like to point to a number of typos and formatting errors in the eBook edition. This is published by Crown Publishers, a division of Penguin Random House. One gets the impression that mainstream publishers consider eBooks to be their bastard children and don’t bother to look at them once the manuscript is converted.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Jean Louise Finch, AKA Scout, returned to Maycomb County, Alabama, for her annual summer visit and it doesn’t take her long to scandalize the place.  Aunty Alexandra is aghast over the gossip flying around town that Jean Louise and childhood sweetheart, Hank, went skinny-dipping at Finch’s Landing.  Atticus Finch, now in his seventies and plagued by arthritis, with his fabled even demeanor, observes that her dress is wrinkled from recently drying.  After church Atticus and Hank head for downtown to attend the Citizens’ Council meeting.  Jean Louise is dumbstruck.  She sneaks into the colored loft of the courthouse, as she had done so many times, and eavesdrops on the proceedings.  Dumbstruck turns to horrorstruck when she hears the rantings of a white supremacist who her father had just introduced.  The turmoil  of the birth of the civil rights era is Scout’s coming of age moment and not in any happy way.

If Harper Lee were not a great writer she should still win acclaim for choosing great titles.  Go Set a Watchman is of course the long lost sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, but it is not quite on par with that sixty-year-old classic.  Although oozing with wisdom and elegant phrasing, some parts are dense and obtuse.  I found myself rereading passages, and more than once, failing to grasp the intent of the words.  A few sentences I just did not understand at all.  Whereas To Kill a Mockingbird is written in first person, Go Set a Watchman is an odd mix of all three persons, sometimes within a single paragraph.  This reader, at least, has the impression that this manuscript was rushed to publication and that it would benefit from more judicious editing.  Nevertheless, it is a vital piece of work not to be missed.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Flashman and Madison's War

Captain Thomas Flashman was a self-confessed coward.  He unwittingly found himself fighting the upstart Americans alongside of Iroquois warriors on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes during the war of 1812—Madison’s War.  Although cowardly, Flashman was cunning and managed to present himself in a good light to superior officers.  This has the unfortunate effect of keeping him on the front lines.  While trying to prevent an enraged warrior from cleaving his skull with a tomahawk, he accidentally converts the savage Indian into a faithful friend who watches his back and spares him from numerous life threatening encounters.  Simultaneously the tide of the war in America turned against the British and the European conflict with France suddenly ended.  This happy news meant that Continental troops would soon relieve the beleaguered British forces in Canada.  Flashman saw a route home to England.  But his hopes were cruelly dashed and he returned to the solace of the Mennonite girl who he rescued from an abusive husband more than twice her age.

Flashman and Madison’s War is an easygoing book that I originally branded as slow, but I persevered and soon fell into the story’s pace.  The character Flashman is an engaging creation who will set his own hook in reader’s interest.  His unabashed self-assessment that he is a cowardly lying opportunist who wants nothing more than to stay alive and enjoy living to the fullest, quickly endears him to the reader.  Robert Brightwell has retold an obscure part of an obscure war from a British point of view with remarkable accuracy and detail through the eyes of a fictional character with real charm.  This is the fifth installment in a series of Flashman’s memoirs.  It stands alone but some may prefer to start at the beginning.

120,000 Words
Price $3.99

Buy at Amazon

Nine Hours Left

Alien Affairs free promotion at Amazon expires forever at the stroke of midnight Friday, July 3

But fret not.
You can now pre-order a copy for only $1.99 at your favorite Smashwords retailer, including Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

What was the big secret at Roswell?
See how a forty-something divorcée foiled the
aliens’ apocryphal plans with her wit and charm.

Pre-Order Now 

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Still Read Paperbacks?

I have been remiss.  I forget to tell you that Alien Affairs is now available in paperback from Createspace.  Unfortunately paper is a lot more expensive than kilobytes.  Nevertheless, if that's your thing, click this link.

Buy at Createspace 

If you buy it from Amazon the price is the same but I get a much smaller cut.  Amazon owns Createspace so figure that out.

Here is another five star review by British writer, Theresa Dawn Sinclair.  Thanks, Dawn.

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Highly recommended!!
27 April 2015

By theresa dawn sinclair
Verified Purchase

Alien Affairs is not the first Scott Skipper book I
have read but it is definitely my favourite. From the beginning, I was
intrigued as to the direction in which Scott would take the Roswell story,
having read other stories that mentioned the place and having watched the
entire series of Roswell on TV. Let me make it quite clear, THIS one is
different. ALIEN AFFAIRS is sci-fi at its best. There is enough techno info to
make it believable and plenty of down-home incredulity from the characters to
make it credible.

Without wishing to spoil anything, the developing
relationship between our heroine Carrie and a character called Deshler is as
romantic as it is unusual. They have a magical spark missing in so many
in-your-face romances despite the fact that from beginning to end she calls him
names like "deceptive bastard". The rest of the characters provide
much amusement, especially the never seen, never named president of the USA.

It is rare for me to say "I couldn't put this
down" because, for one thing, in general I read books in less time than it
takes most people to read a comic. However, this time, I have to say, I
genuinely did not want to stop page turning and just knew the end would be
brilliant. It is. Stick with it however long it takes you....the ending is a

Couldn't recommend this higher. It's different, it's